Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Volunteer Spotlight: Joe Alverson

This week, we’d like to bring some attention to 2nd year tutor/mentor and Senior Electrical Engineer Joe Alverson. He started mentoring at Cabrini Connections last year on the recommendation of a number of friends and immediately threw himself into it. He was matched up with Lincoln Park High School 9th grader and Cabrini Green resident William Gallion right away and has been “really really enjoying it” ever since. William came to the program last year struggling with his math homework and now, one quarter into his freshman year, finds that math is his strongest subject. In speaking with Joe, he expresses how hard a worker William is and is quick to give the credit to William for his dramatic improvement. However, it is obvious that Joe provides William with a great role model, someone who is not afraid to work hard towards a goal and achieve it, inspiring others in the process.

In the past year working with William, Joe has really pushed William to realize his potential. For example, in preparation for the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT), which is very important in Chicago since it’s used to weed out low-performing applicants from the best magnet schools, Joe came to William’s house every day for a week to help him study. In doing this, Joe not only helped William gain enough confidence and skills to ace the ISAT, but he also developed a valuable relationship with William’s family, with whom he ate dinner each night in exchange for his tutoring expertise. Joe has developed a great relationship with William’s family, even going so far as to attend a family reunion, where the rest of William’s family, seeing what a great influence he is on William, strongly encouraged that he stay with William through high school graduation and beyond!

Perhaps the secret to Joe’s strong mentor/mentee relationship with William is that he encourages William to meet with him outside of tutoring to augment the tutoring/mentoring he gets each week at Cabrini Connections. Joe and William frequently go out and grow their mentoring relationship together, going to the movies, talking about politics and even building furniture!

Joe makes it clear that mentoring means a lot to him when he says “it’s nice to give your time back to the community and see that you are having a direct impact on someone else’s life.” We are so glad that we here at Cabrini Connections can facilitate strong and mutually beneficial mentoring relationships like Joe and William's and we’re looking forward to seeing them both grow in the coming years! Congratulations Joe!

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